Punta Mendenares to Arroyo de la Viper, April 8th 2007.

In the morning we found a scorpion under one of the tents! Despite the paranoia about these insects, this is only the second one I have ever seen in all of Baja. Other people have claimed to see scorpions who were on the same trips that I was on, but since I didnít see those myself I remain skeptical.

We packed up after a layover day and started heading south again. At Punta El Mangle Doug Hamilton and I found another huge cave to paddle into. Around the ponint there was a large bight with several houses tucked inside. One of them was a huge mansion that I hope is a hotel and not a private vacation home. I think we are getting too close to Loreto and civilization. We cut across the bight and when we came close to shore again there were some interesting rock formations. The offshore rocks had been undermined until they were standing out of the water on narrow pedestals. In this same area we found a white shell beach to land on for a break. The cliffs turned out to be made out of crumbly soil full of fossil shells.

We passed the mouth of another estero named Boa los Bateques. This body of water had apparently seen a lot of current during the hurricane last year. There was a shallow shoal of sand offshore with breaking waves that made the timid kayakers go way around. Whole trees had been uprooted and carried out to sit in the shallow water offshore and along the beach. We didnít see an opening into a lagoon behind the beach, but we may have missed it. We did see some locals camped on the beach with tents and trucks. They were celebrating Easter Sunday in my favorite cathedral: The Great Outdoors.

The land behind the shore had been low since Punta El Mangle but the cliffs rose up again for us. We found one long gravel beach to land on around lunchtime. The topographic maps showed several arroyos in these cliffs and we were scheduled to camp in one of them. Herb Howe believed that the last of these arroyos was accessible from the dirt airstrip just before Loreto, so we stopped at the second-to-the-last Arroyo to make sure we had one more good camp in the wilderness before returning to civilization. The beach in front of the arroyo was steep and rocky but around the next point there was a long gravel beach. This turned out to be a perfect campsite and at low tide we could still walk back to the big arroyo to go hiking.

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